African Livestock Futures – Realizing the potential of livestock for food security, poverty reduction and the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa

A study published last year indicates the potential for the growth in livestock production and demand in Africa to contribute greatly to the continent’s employment and economy as well as to the resilience and productivity of its many livestock keepers. See here for a related blog post.

Key highlights from the study are:

  • Under all scenarios, smallholders, with their mixed crop and livestock farming systems, will continue to be the main producers of ruminant (cattle, goat and sheep) products until 205 For monogastrics (such as poultry and pigs), most of the expansion will be through industrial production systems.
  • Policies that encourage healthy food consumption patterns, the sustainable intensification of all livestock production systems and selective promotion of monogastric livestock production, could result in increased environmental efficiency of livestock systems in sub-Saharan Africa. This can be done in ways that protect production in pastoral communities, and by smallholder farmers.
  • Sustainable intensification of livestock production will yield significant benefits for food security, incomes, trade, smallholder competitiveness and ecosystems service These benefits need to be widely appreciated: at the present time farmers face major challenges when attempting to increase their investments in livestock production especially when the sector’s contribution to sustainable development and economic growth is not appreciated.
  • The required investments include increased provision of veterinary services, inputs, institutional support, processing and market These are all essential if current livestock production systems are to evolve into viable commercial operations.


The study was prepared by a core research team from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) under the stewardship of the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition and UN System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC).

The conduct of the study was made possible through financial support provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The scenarios used in the study were developed and quantified as part of the European Union (EU) funded project “An integration of mitigation and adaptation options for sustainable livestock production under climate change”.

Learn more about the research here in a related blog post.

For questions or comments, please contact David Nabarro at with copy to Mario Herrero at and

Online versions of the full Report of the study, Executive Summary and Policy Brief are available at website:

Author: Mario Herrero; Petr Havlík; John Murray McIntire; Amanda Palazzo; Hugo Valin

Publisher: Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition and UN System Influenza Coordinator (UNSIC)

Language: en

Year: 2014

Location(s): Africa

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